Life feels different two years later

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2003

"I didn't know a single person who died in New York or Washington, D.C. I never met any of the passengers who died in the crash in Pennsylvania. Still a great sadness continues to follow me through the days and into a restless sleep."

I wrote those words in 2001, a few nights after the events of September 11. Images of planes crashing into buildings and people crying for help haunted me.

No matter how normal I tried to make life feel, there was a sense of strangeness that would not go away.

"Life continues, but things are out of sync as I move through the motions of watering my plants, washing laundry, all of the activities that take up the hours of a day. Days tumble over days, and still heaviness lingers," I wrote.

The other day two reporters were talking about where they were on the morning of September 11. I remember that day. It was a clear, beautiful fall morning as I drove my child to school. Just before I reached the school, a news report broke into the song playing on the radio.

A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I remember thinking the pilot of some small plane must have lost control and caused a terrible accident. I got back home and turned on the television in time to see a second plane crash in New York and a third in Washington, D.C.

The rest of the day was a ride on an emotional roller coaster as we heard about another crash in Pennsylvania and wondered if there were more planes, if more attacks were on the way.

"When I watched the news on Sept. 11, I saw the unbelievable horror of a world gone mad. In the blink of an eye, we became a nation of souls linked by shock and grief. Now we wait for what comes next," I wrote on that dark night.

It is two years later and I, like the rest of the country, am remembering Sept. 11 and perhaps still waiting for what comes next. Strange isn't it that we don't need to put a year with September 11. That date is part of our collective consciousness now.

Today I watched the news and saw where there were suicide bombings, retaliatory air strikes and soldiers dying in the Middle East. What our country experienced on that September morning is a way of life for much of the world.

Terrorism is still alive and well in 2003. Terrorism - that is something I gave little thought to before a fall day in 2001. In a few horrific minutes the world changed and became a much more frightening place.

"Always in the back of my mind is a sense of loss, a longing to go back to the place I lived before the morning of Sept. 11. A place where life felt safe and secure.

A place that is different now, changed perhaps forever."

There were pictures from Ground Zero broadcast around the clock when I wrote those words. The images of death and grief and fear were as close as the on button on my television.

Two years later I still long to go back to that safe place that existed before Sept. 11, but I realize it is impossible. The world I knew, the world America knew changed that morning.

As I remember that day and all of those who lost their lives, I will say a prayer for their families. And I will say a prayer for our world.